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Miles of Smiles

TODAY JANAY COMES FOR A VISIT FROM CAMBODIA!!!!

Enough said.

Well, almost.  Because by the weekend ALL of my precious 20 something’s will be under mama’s roof!!!!

The goofy grin shows up even in print, doesn’t it????

Happy, happy, happy, happy!!!!

;-)

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Hands On

I woke to the most clear visual of why fear should have absolutely no hold on us.

Do you have a pen and paper handy?

If you’re up for participation points ( :-) ), draw your hand.  You know – trace around it like we did in kindergarten.  Only this time, instead of drawing in a Thanksgiving turkey, it will be the base of our analogy.

But now, this hand is no longer yours.  It represents the hand of God Himself.

Four fingers and a thumb are sticking up.  We’re going to embellish them with phrases of truth that we know about God.

Let’s start with the thumb:  Write, “God is good.”

Pointer finger:  “God is forgiving.”

Middle finger:  “God loves me.”

Ring Finger:  “God will never leave me.”

Pinky:  “God has a plan.”

GOD IS GOOD – (Psalm 145:0 – The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.)

If I know that God is good, then I know that anything that comes from His hand is also good.  This should eliminate my fear that God is “out to get me”.  Anything that He allows or gives or takes away, flows through the filter of goodness that is His nature.  His hands are good hands.  (I love that it’s on the thumb – BIG thumbs up!)

GOD IS FORGIVING – (1 john 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.)

If I know that God is forgiving, then the fear that my faults and failures are immovable obstacles falls flat.  His hands were nailed to a cross for me, for my forgiveness.  The blood that He shed covers EVERYTHING.  Not just my “acceptable” sins.  He died to drive home that truth.  (When Satan points that finger of accusation at us, we can remember God’s pointer finger pointing right back at Him, telling Him that He paid the price and we are forgiven.)

GOD LOVES ME  – (Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.)

If I know that God loves me with the kind of love that can’t be touched or affected or stopped  by ANYTHING in this world, whether physical or spiritual, fear can take a flying leap out the nearest window.  No matter my circumstances or the lies the enemy tries to feed me, I am passionately loved by God.  (Coincidence that this is on the middle finger, central to the hand, tall and obvious and strong?  I think not….)

GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE ME  – (Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.)

If I know that God will never leave me, then the fear of abandonment or facing anything alone evaporates into thin air.  His hand is continually extended to mine to know His presence, His partnership, His commitment to me.  That fact should bring incredible confidence that there is NEVER a point when I am truly flying solo.  (No mistake that this is placed on the ring finger – we are His bride and He has “become one” with us.  “Divorce” will never enter His mind.)

GOD HAS A PLAN – (Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”)

If I know that God has a plan for me, then my fear that things are happening haphazardly and seem out of control is silenced.  He KNOWS the plan He has for me.  He is not winging this.  And not only is it a plan, but it’s a plan with “hope and a future”!  It’s a really, really good plan, regardless of what today might look like.  (The pinky is little, but it’s been proven that without it the hand loses 50% of its power.  Knowing God has a plan is powerful in our fight against fear.)

Now we have our whole hand filled in.

Well, not quite filled in.

Now look at the palm of the hand on the paper.  Write your name in the center of that palm.  (Isaiah 49:16 – See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.)  YOUR NAME is in the center of His hand!

Right where He holds you, protects you, defends you, comforts you.

Look at your real hand.  Imagine, every phrase we just talked about on the thumb and fingers.  Imagine your name in the center.

Now slowly make a fist.  Watch what happens.  All of the digits come together, surrounding the palm.  All the truths and promises about God -

GOD IS GOOD.

GOD IS FORGIVING.

GOD LOVES ME.

GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE ME.

GOD HAS A PLAN.

All of those combine, protecting the palm and forming a weapon of defense.  A weapon against fear!  Ready to undercut the lies that fear tells us.  Ready to use the right hook of truth against the ploys of the enemy.

Keep the hand.  Remember the analogy. Truth – It packs a punch. :-)

 

 

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Well, Hello Stranger!

RAIN!!!!

No, that wasn’t another North Cal earthquake.

It was the standing ovation and happy dance of all of us here who woke up to RAIN!!!!

I can count on less than one hand the number of times I have experienced any type of rain at all in the 15 months we’ve lived her.

So, yes.  The earth IS moving under our feet a bit. :-)

I swear the trees are gulping down this liquid sunshine., one thirsty swallow after another.

The grass is looking up so every blade can see the glory of each drop making it’s way into the ground that feeds them.

And I’m not even kidding….my flowers are grinning from petal to petal!

Even the birds are breaking out in newly inspired songs of glee.

THIS is the magic that happens during the first rain after a drought.

I could sit and just watch it all day long.

Cool, refreshing, cleansing rain.  It seems to affect body, mind and heart when it has too long been a stranger.  It heals a parched earth.  It soothes a parched soul.

Just the rhythmic sound is enough to put me into a trance of sweet peace and complete oblivion to anything else going on in the world.

I plan on enjoying every single minute of this downpour.

My personal reminder of Jesus’ healing rain in my life.  Those precious moments of aha! and refreshment from His Word.  Drops of healing that nourish my heart and bring growth and change.  Downpours of grace and sweet patience as He works on me.

Brown begins to turn green.

Healthy, vibrant green.

Soft to the touch and strong to the core.

Jeremiah 17:14 – Lord, heal me and I will be completely well; rescue me and I will be perfectly safe. You are the one I praise!

Psalm 30:2 – O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.

Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

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Immeasurable….

possibilitarian

I saw a phrase yesterday.

“Be a possibilitarian!”

I like the sound of that word.  Not just for the beautiful way that it rolls off the tongue.  I like it because it sounds like adventure and miracles all wrapped up in one.

POSSIBLITARIAN.

It’s a title that doesn’t require special training.

POSSIBILITARIAN.

It’s a role that’s free for the taking, an equal opportunity “employer” to anyone interested.

POSSIBILITARIAN.

It’s only prerequisites are an open mind and heart and a pinch of faith.

God is a POSSIBILITARIAN and He’s calling us to the same thing:

Matthew 19:26 – Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

There are plenty of things in me, in my life, that could look like impossibilities.  Old habits too hard to break.  Old patterns of thinking too imbedded to uproot.  Old fears that defy movement with their death grip on my heart.

But if ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE with God, then I can look at these things through the lenses of a POSSIBILITARIAN.  Literally, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE with Him.

If the desires of my heart match the wisdom, love and plan that His own heart holds for me and for His glory, then I will see answers to prayers that I never thought could be realities:

John 14:15 – “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

In this process of healing and growth and change (the 90 day challenge), I have had the indescribable privilege of seeing God do the impossible.  In my life, and in the lives of others.  Miracles.  Adventures in faith.  Milestones of aha! moments. Corrected spiritual vision.  The list goes on.

I couldn’t be more thrilled that God is not boxed in to just the scope of my own feeble imagination:

Ephesians 3:16-21 – I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Any idea that I can come up with on my own is magnified within the imagination of God.  I can see good.  He can see spectacular.  I can hear music, while He hears a symphony.  I can conceive of “maybe”.  He dreams of “absolutely”.

I close my eyes and muse about what could be.  He orchestrates what will be with His eyes wide open.

My God is the King of Possiblities.

The first POSSIBLITARIAN.

Genesis 1:3 – And God said …and there was….

Another day begins, another opportunity to join hands with Him and learn to become a POSSIBILITARIAN right along with Him.

Can you even imagine????

 

 

 

 

 

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Never Before, Never Again

Time has just given birth to a new day.

A day never before seen with human eyes.

A day that will never again be repeated.

Fresh, innocent, unmarred.

Ripe with possibility.

Full of purpose just waiting to be displayed.

It yawns and stretches in anticipation of all it has to offer.

And then with eyes full of wonder and promise, it smiles and extends its hand.

“Come join me!”  it says.  “Adventure awaits!”

This day does not know the trouble of Yesterday or the fear of Tomorrow.

It is only familiar with the present.

It will soon be gone.

So it doesn’t worry.  It doesn’t regret.

It just lives fully the 24 hours between its birth and demise.

Ready.  Willing.  Hopeful.

Eyes wide open, not wanting to miss a thing.

Why would I not want to grasp that outstretched hand and squeeze?

How could I resist the twinkle in its eye, the grin on its waking face?

Your today and its adventure awaits….

Psalm 118:24 – This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. 

Isaiah 43:18-19 – “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

 

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Miss McCay’s Mom

Sometimes you get to be a rock star without even trying….

Like when you leave the house for an hour and come home to two pups who greet you like you’ve been gone for months and there is nothing in the world they would rather do than lick your face and tell you in doggie speak how wonderful they think you are.

Or when you walk into your daughter’s fourth grade class and they treat you like royalty just because you showed up and smiled at them.

This was my experience yesterday when I became not just Jana Jarvis, but “Miss McCay’s mom”.  A completely different identity, it would seem.  Because, apparently, Miss McCay’s mom rocks. :-)

The day started with lots of smiles and shy waves.  Everyone was so well behaved (Brittany talks in such a calm, soft voice that it demands their listening ears and attention – really amazing to watch!) that they didn’t approach me when they were meant to be learning and testing.  They kept to task and were nothing bur respectful to each other and their sweet teacher.

But soon a note was discovered on Miss McCay’s desk, addressed: To:  Miss McCay and Mom  From:  Student.

Britt and I opened it to find this:

photo-12

And my heart melted all over the floor.

Moments later, the little one that wrote it was getting in line for recess and I saw her looking on the teacher’s desk to see if the note had been discovered yet.  I caught her eye and said quietly, “Thank you so much for your sweet note.  It made my day.”  She beamed.   Connection.  And I’m caught, hook, line and sinker.

As they were taking their spelling test, one of the words was thermometer.  One boy raised his hand and asked to share a comment about the word.  “Miss McCay, did you realize that the word thermometer has the word “mom” in it and your Mom is here today?”   Smile.  Eye contact.  Connection.

But this little charmer wasn’t done.  Later, while discussing vocabulary words, the word “indescribable” came up, the students gave sentences using the word and defined it in their own words, giving examples.  Several other words were discussed and then this little guy’s arm shot up again.  He asked if he could go back to the word indescribable  because he had a definition.  Miss McCay said of course he could share.  The first time he said it, we didn’t catch it, as he was looking up at the ceiling.  But when he repeated it, I blushed for the first time in forever.  “When Miss McCay’s Mom came into our class it was “indescribable” because she was so beautiful!”  This from a fourth grade boy.  Not worried about what the other kids thought.  Just putting it out there.  (Strangely and wonderfully enough, no one made fun of him for this comment.)  This kid made my day.

But this was not the end of it.  At recess, unbeknownst to Britt and me, when he should have been playing wall ball and running around with his friends, he instead went to the office and made a call to his mom.  An hour later, when they were in their dance class, this boy with the largest smile to ever grace a fourth grade face, marched up to me with this:

photo-11

I think I have an admirer…:-)

Sometimes you get to be a rock star without even trying.  Just because you’re Miss McCay’s Mom.

Thanks, Miss McCay, for one absolutely great day.  You are the best teacher ever!  You’re the real rock star here, both in my book and theirs. :-)  I couldn’t be more proud of you doing exactly what you were made and meant to do.  You are brilliant and natural at it. And once more I am in awe of the woman my baby girl has become….

 

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It All ADDs Up….

 

If you are reading this on Facebook, then you probably saw my comment about going to the doctor this afternoon regarding questions about adult ADD.

Thanks to all of you who through phone calls and private messages have offered your wisdom and experience in this area.  Your graciousness in taking the time to show your concern means so much and I value the opinions of those who know so much more about this topic than I do.

I have always joked about my having ADD (and am certain I have some level of it) but in the past couple of months it has seemed to become intrusive and making me “not feel like me”.

That being said, I went to the doctor today.  I talked with her about my concerns and the increase in my anxiety symptoms, wondering if there was a correlation between the two.

After running some blood work on me, I just got a call from the nurse, saying that my potassium levels are way too low.  Now, if you’re like me, that truly sounds like no big deal.  Except that it really is.

Hyopkalemia is what they call it.  And it’s a side effect of the blood pressure medication I take, a diuretic that wipes out the supply of potassium in the body.  Pair this with the fact that I drink primarily only gallons of water a day and you get a body depleted of the potassium needed for nerve and muscle function.  Potassium is what keeps the kidneys filtering and the heart beating.  Literally. If it gets too low, well, everything will literally stop working.  And that’s not good.

So I guess it’s a little more important than I thought.

And it would explain so many of the symptoms that I was attributing to anxiety and ADD – chest pain, dizziness, muscle twitching, palpitations, fogginess in my thinking.

My body, my heart, my mind has been starving for it’s potassium.  I’ve already been on a dose of one ginormous pill about three days a week (is what my Dr. had prescribed).  But now it’s two ginormous pills EVERY day.

So there’s a good chance I do still have some ADD tendencies and will probably always need a little help with my anxiety, but I was thankful to find that this obvious increase in symptoms had at least one source that we can address right now.

This was one of my little brave steps in my 90 day journey today.  To swallow my pride and go after some answers for my physical and mental health.

I’ve been so focused on healing my inner heart.  But today I had to do a little something for my physical one.

Thanks for your prayers and sweet support.

xoxoxoxo

 

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OW!

know

grow

show

These are all words that God is using in my life in this 90 challenge of healing.

To KNOW Him more intimately.

To GROW in areas of neglect and weakness.

To SHOW me the places that are still in need of His healing touch.

And until this morning, I didn’t realize that each of these words contains the word OW!

OW as in ouch, that hurts.

This actually makes sense to my simple mind.

The more that I come to KNOW Him, the more I am overwhelmed by the condition of my heart without Him.  As I come into an even more intimate KNOWledge of Him, I ache over the sin in me that grieves Him.

OW!

As I begin to take baby steps of GROWth, as the muscles of newfound faith begin to emerge and GROW, there is pain.  As I try new ways of thinking, of reacting, of responding I feel the GROWing pains and the stretch marks of slow progress associated with it.  Baby steps are not without tumbling, falling and failing.  Real GROWTH is defined by taking that next step after failure.

OW!

When Jesus SHOWs me those areas deep inside that need attention and healing, I want to look away, to ignore the blood and gore.  It’s not pretty.  When He gently points to and SHOWs me broken places that haven’t  healed correctly, He also offers to reset the offending “bones”, a process that essentially means re-breaking a part of me so I can be whole again.

OW!

Why would a person subject themselves to such inner turmoil?

Because there is something beautiful on the other side!!!!

The OW will turn to OH!

KNOW will become KNOH!

GROW will transform to GROH!

SHOW will morph into SHOH!

And in new moments of wonder, of aha, my heart will cry “OH!”

This is what makes each moment between here and there worth it….

James 1:4 – Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Proverbs 4:20-22 – My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;  for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

Psalm 30:2 – O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.

Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Jeremiah 17:14 – Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.

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Be Brave

Interesting, God’s timing….

Last week I got a call from a gal in Alameda who asked me to come and speak at a women’s event in October.

I’ll be honest.  With all of the craziness of the weeks ahead and the immense planning and scheduling that is coming with that (Janay is coming home for a month from Cambodia (yay!) and will be traveling around meeting her supporters, family and friends), I was more than a little tempted to say no.  No would definitely have been the easiest and most convenient answer.

But, as most of you know, I am on a 90 day adventure of heart healing with Jesus.

The easiest answers are not what He’s been calling me to lately.

To make things even more curious and almost comical, the theme of the event is Be Brave.

Are you smiling with me right now?

Because that is exactly what God has been asking of me on this journey of healing and growth.  Freedom from fear.  Walking face first into old fears, eyes wide open, with courage and the promise of His presence with every timid step of progress. Literally, Being Brave.

Taking mustard seed sized faith, itty bitty trembling belief and proactively planting it in ways and places where it can begin to grow into the massive tree that God dreams for me.

It was as if God was speaking directly through this dear woman and saying, “Will you take this next step, right in the middle of your own intense learning?  Will you share at a very real level what it looks like to take My invitation to Be Brave?  Let them see what shaky steps toward courage and trust really look like.  Don’t give them platitudes.  Give them the reality of your own current experience with Me.  Tell them of my presence in the process, of how I have held you tightly with every baby step and have challenged you to take another.  Share with them how I hold you when it’s been a hard day of learning and we just cry together for a little while. Remind them of my promises to never leave them, to always love them, that I have a plan for them. Let them know that process doesn’t always look like progress but that I am constantly at work in the heart that looks to Me for guidance and help and wisdom. Tell them that I have dreams for them that they can’t even imagine.  That with every inch toward bravery they will gain confidence in Me as they begin to see glimpses of those dreams.  You have to tell them, Jana.  You just have to.  This is our next step together.”

Needless to say, I said yes. :-)

When the timing couldn’t have seemed worse, it suddenly occurred to me that it couldn’t possibly have been any better….

Isaiah 41:10 – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Deuteronomy 31:6 – So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Jeremiah 1:8 – “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

Matthew 14:27 – But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”

John 14:1 – Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 

Psalm 27:1 – The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?

Romans 8:15 – For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Agony and Ecstasy

This business of growing and healing.

I don’t know.

It’s both grueling and amazing.  If I hadn’t been part of something I hate so fiercely and love so deeply I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to experience both ends of the spectrum at the same time.

Seriously.  How is that possible?

When I was a kid and my dad was the “tickle monster” with my brothers and me, we would be desperate for him to stop when our tired little laughing heads couldn’t take it any more.  “Stop, daddy, stop!”  we would call out through our laughter that was morphing into tears.  He would stop, of course.  But seconds later, without fail, each of us would cry, “Do it again!”

That’s a little how I am feeling about this healing thing…”Stop, Daddy, stop!”/”Do it again!”

The agony and the ecstasy.

There is so much to detest about it.

- It’s hard.

-It hurts.

-It requires change.

-It takes me out of my comfort zone.

-It’s never ending.

And did I mention it’s hard, it hurts, requires change, takes me out of my comfort zone and is never ending?

Sigh.

But then again, there’s so much to adore about it.

-It’s hard.  (That’s called strength-training.)

- It hurts.  (That’s called healing.)

-It requires change.  (That’s called progress.)

-It takes me out of my comfort zone.  (That’s called stretching.)

-It’s never ending.  (That’s called eternal.)

And just to be clear,  it’s hard, it hurts, requires change, takes me out of my comfort zone and is never ending.

I am becoming so much more aware of the fact that anything lasting, anything worth fighting for, is going to cost something.  Baby glimpses of growth, whiffs of sweet healing make that cost feasible, intriguing even.

It seems that every ounce of growth produces a pound of new testing, the chance to take what I’ve learned in this healing and apply it to a new circumstance.

Exhausting.

Exhilarating.

A tiny bit changed.

A big bit humbled.

A heart all the more in love with and dependent upon Jesus.

Because, like never before, I realize that I am in desperate need of the healing that only comes from His hand.  That every iota of true growth and change in me was His idea first and is only possible because He is my source of strength.

And so I will have tears. Because, dang it, it hurts!

I will have stretch marks on my soul from the pull it takes to get me out of my comfort zone.

There will be a few scars on my heart where healing is having its way with deep gouges.

My mind’s eye will probably show circles of weariness.

But I will not be the same tomorrow as I was yesterday.

And as soon as I finish crying, “Stop, Daddy, stop!”  I will smile and say, “Do it again!”…

2 Corinthians 3:18 – And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 

 

 

 

 

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